In case you haven’t yet seen coverage of this on the cable news network, ESPN, ABC, the New York Times or every other major outlet, here’s a summary of the story that was broken by CNN last night:
Susan Candiotti was given access to the contents of emails sent in 2001 between the worst university president in the history of the world, Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley. The emails – which were filled with heavy pronoun use, presumably to protect against future incrimination (oops) – show that the officials had working knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s shower abuse witnessed by Mike McQueary and, seemingly, a 1998 incident that Schultz later claimed he knew nothing about.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that there was email evidence against the vice president and athletic director. In the emails seen by CNN (though they don’t have the actual emails), Schultz wrote that handling the allegations in-house, as opposed to contacting police or other authorities, was “the more humane and upfront way to handle this.”
The exchanges are not as damning as some news outlets would have you believe. For Curley and Schultz, the emails simply help to confirm what was pretty apparent– that the men knew more about what Sandusky was doing in the showers at Penn State. But, we do learn of additional involvement from Spanier… and Joe Paterno.
Based on their emails, Spanier, Schultz and Curley concocted a plan for Curley to speak with Sandusky, inform his charity (Second Mile) and contact the Department of Welfare about the allegations.
The latter two actions never occurred.
One day after being handed that uncomfortable to-do list, Curley backtracked. From CNN:
Curley indicates he no longer wants to contact child welfare authorities just yet. He refers to a conversation the day before with Paterno. It's not known what Paterno may have said to Curley.
Curley writes: "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps."
The athletic director apparently preferred to keep the situation an internal affair and talk things over with Sandusky instead of notifying the state's child welfare agency to investigate Sandusky's suspicious activity.
"I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved," Curley allegedly continues.
The use of the name “Joe” is the only time in these email exchanges that a pronoun wasn’t used in place of those involved. “Subject," “guests” and "charitable organization" were used to refer to Sandusky, the children and Second Mile.
Curley wrote that he would speak with Sandusky and work with him to get professional help. If Sandusky agreed to do so, the Second Mile and outside authorities wouldn’t be contacted.
Spanier replied: “Acceptable. The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”
Spanier added: “But that can be assessed down the down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”
And that’s where we are now… down the road, a strip of pavement, which, for the next 10 years, provided a safe haven for Jerry Sandusky to rape little boys.